Adolescence And The Digital Camera


Or ” Too Old To Be A Teenager Any More “.

Whenever I have undertaken a new hobby venture, I have gone through the classic progression of Timidity, Avidity, Insanity, Ennui, and Aversion. In some cases it has been a rapid process; flying model airplanes got through the entire thing in a month – the last three stages occupying about 5 minutes in total.

Other enthusiasms have stayed fresh for years – my interest in photography has never waned – my interest in building model cars has even returned after decades in dormancy. And I now have to confess that my adolescence with the digital camera has ceased.

Oh, I do not mean that I do not take pictures – that is a daily occurrence. It is just that I have stopped using the overblown tricks that I once marvelled at, and have adopted more sober artistic goals. I have put aside the  boxes of violently coloured gels for the strobe lights and taken down the silver curtains. The old harem accessories, including the fake palm trees, have been given away. The boudoir props have returned to more normal usage as kitchen utensils and drop sheets.

I haven’t grown up – Heaven Forbid – but I have found that I can make a better reality with softer tones and less sharpening. Few scenes need magenta light. Even fewer need strings of pearls and cutlasses. The less said about the candelabra, the better – it never got off the ground. Of course, this leaves space in the studio for things like miniature garbage bins, scale mobile homes, and toy houses of ill repute. Nature abhors a vacuum and when one obsession leaves another slides into place. You need not be idle a minute.

Note for those about to undergo their own artistic adolescence, I heartily recommend shooting everything in RAW format and putting the basic file somewhere safe. You can futz about all you want with the thing in PSD or TIFF form and add as many flying monkeys, explosions, or dewy-eyed houris as you want. That’s what christening photos are all about. But you can then discard them later when you get over the fit.


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